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Plans reveal unique Nordic Spa concept for Edmonton

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29 May 2019 (Edmonton, AB) –  A group of home-grown entrepreneurs have revealed plans to build a Scandinavian-style, indoor-outdoor spa facility to be complete by the end of next year. A traditional Nordic spa consists of working up a sweat in a wood-heated sauna, then plunging into a cold water pool, and finally relaxing in an outdoor steam bath.

The ‘Edmonton Nordic Spa’ will be a four-season wellness experience to be built in the heart of the city. The group behind it says it will “complement Edmonton’s landscape, culture, and local way of life”. 

“This will be a world-class, four-season, destination-worthy facility and we’re confident it will be warmly embraced as a regular health and wellness routine for residents of the city and surrounding area,” says Hank Van Weelden, one of the entrepreneurs behind the project and Managing Partner of Edmonton Nordic Spa. 

Heading up a group of Alberta-based investors, Van Weelden and some of his partners are the team behind Alberta’s first Nordic spa west of Calgary; Kananaskis Nordic Spa

Hank Van Weelden

Van Weelden continues: “As we’ve been developing plans with our partners over recent months and discussing how our vision for the facility will come to life, one piece that has become very clear is how we’re all 100% committed to Edmonton Nordic Spa looking and feeling exactly like Edmonton.  It’s got to have an authentic sense of the city at its core, a signature Edmonton experience.  We have always lived and done business here, so this is something that’s really important to us.”

The Nordic Spa practice, as a way of achieving full body and mind relaxation and recuperation, has been growing in popularity across Canada within recent years.  Based on the traditional Scandinavian approach to wellness, it follows the philosophy that moving between hot, warm and cold temperatures has numerous health benefits – known as hydrotherapy. 

The ownership group behind Edmonton Nordic Spa are confident that the increasing appeal of the Nordic Spa experience as wellness therapy as well as it being a relaxing leisure activity, will not only satisfy Edmontonians but will provide a draw into the city that can only benefit the regional economy. 

“We are very excited to have the Edmonton Nordic Spa come to our destination,” says Renee Williams, Director International Market Development, Tourism Edmonton. 

“Edmonton Tourism’s reason for being is to promote our incredible destination, the products and experiences within, to visitors all over the world. Unique and breathtaking experiences like the Edmonton Nordic Spa will help our team sell the destination and inspire year-round travel.”

While the exact location has not been disclosed, plans include a facility spanning two acres and featuring three distinct areas of use: social, silent, and a group gathering space.  There will be a total of eight outdoor pools (hot, warm and cold variations, with waterfall characteristics), steam and sauna rooms, two dining options including a bistro, and several massage therapy treatment rooms – to complement the hydrotherapy experience. 

“We want this to be an experience that is deeply-rooted in its place, to complement the regional landscape.” explains Michael Dub, Principal Architect. “The design of Edmonton Nordic Spa started by thinking about how guests will move around the space.  We took inspiration from the natural water flow and geological river formations along the North Saskatchewan River, and took note of how glacier water meanders down through the mountains and into the prairies. We are actively evoking the natural carvings that water makes into the regional landscape within this concept, to create a feeling of travelling upstream in the space while moving through the hydrotherapy cycle.”

As locally-based architects, well-established and ingrained into the city, Dub embarked on this project as one that needed to feel truly ‘Edmontonian’.

“The team thought a lot about how the Nordic spa practice relates to Canada, and to Edmonton.  For example, we knew it was important to not only have the typical solo / silent areas you’d expect to find in Nordic spa facilities for meditation and relaxation, but also to incorporate a social area for guests to communicate and connect with one another during their time there; we think residents, users and visitors to the heart of the city will enjoy this fusion of wellness and community at Edmonton Nordic Spa”, says Dub.

This understanding of how a tradition that is derived from Scandinavia translates to the rituals and tastes of Canadians is something Managing Partner Van Weelden is particularly passionate about.  As a serial entrepreneur and fan of physical endurance programs, he’s visited many across North America seeking relaxation and respite from both work and demands on his body.

When the opportunity arose to create a Canadian take on the Scandinavian wellness tradition in Kananaskis Country, just one hour west of Calgary, he and his colleagues gladly took on the challenge. They opened the first Nordic Spa in Alberta in Kananaskis in March 2018.

“We’ve seen with immense satisfaction, our first spa project in Kananaskis become a great success – and so warmly welcomed by Albertans,” Van Weelden adds. “We’re a city that has a vibrant, culturally-rich festival summer season, and we all know how long Edmonton’s winters can be. Taking the time to rejuvenate via the hydrotherapy cycle, all while outdoors – whether in the brisk temperatures or basking in the sunshine – is what the Nordic Spa is all about; Alberta was made for this concept”.

The group was encouraged by the enthusiasm of last year’s The Edmonton Project. The idea for a downtown public sauna spa near downtown in the river valley became the “People’s Choice.”  

“We think the city is ready for Edmonton Nordic Spa”, says Van Weelden. It’s time to bring an Edmontonian interpretation of this increasingly trending pastime to our city and start to make the very most of how we spend time within it – during each season.”

Click to learn more about Edmonton Nordic Spa.

View photos from the Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Photo credit Travel Alberta & Mike Seehagel.

President Todayville Inc., Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Board Member Canadian Forces Liaison Council (Alberta) Musician, Photographer, Former VP/GM CTV Edmonton.

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Alberta

A Look at the Craft Brewery Boom in Alberta

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The microbrewery landscape in Alberta is composed of a niche collection of local businesses, each offering a creative and completely unique approach to beer and dining. Each location tells a different story through its brews, taproom, artwork, product design and individual take on what makes Alberta beer the best. 

In this strange and creative world, there is something for everyone. Consumers can enjoy the favorite Super Saturation New England Pale Ale while sitting with friends beneath indoor wooden cabins at Cabin Brewing Company, Brewery of the Year winner at the 2020 Alberta Beer Awards. Those with an affinity for sci-fi might enjoy sampling a flight from Zero Issue while kicking back with a comic book. Patio enthusiasts can enjoy the sunshine while sipping on the 2020 Award winners for Patio Beers at Tool Shed Brewing Company, Sea Change Brewing Co. or Analog Brewing

Since 2013, the number of microbreweries in Alberta has skyrocketed. What was once one of the most sparsely populated craft beer industries in Canada has become one of the most exciting destinations for craft beer connoisseurs. 

According to Avenue Magazine, in December 2013, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission made adjustments to the “antiquated laws that made starting a brewery or brewpub a formidable undertaking,” opening the doors for Alberta brewers to pursue their passion. Since then, there has been a steady increase in craft breweries across Alberta, from no more than 13 in 2013 to 123 province-wide as of January 2020. According to Canadian Beer News, the Alberta brew industry now employs an estimated 3,000 people.

Although each brewery could not be more individual and unique, together these businesses form a tight-knit community built on support, collaboration and a mutual desire to see the craft beer market continue to succeed in Alberta and across Canada. According to Alberta Beer, “Alberta brewers know everyone wins when we support and nurture our communities.” 

In Calgary, the craft beer industry has also undergone an extreme expansion in recent years. There are over 30 brewery-taprooms throughout the city, which is also home to a number of collectives. These include the Barley Belt, a collection of breweries spanning several kilometres throughout Calgary’s southeast, and Brewery Flats, a craft beer tour featuring a number of breweries in the Inglewood area. 

Offering an ever-changing selection of local brews on tap, the breweries in Calgary push the limits with an ongoing series of strange and spectacular creations. Some stay for a while, some are gone before your next visit. 

Follow Todayville Calgary to learn more about Calgary’s unique breweries, now featuring exclusive weekly updates from Whats on Tap? 

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Alberta

Business Spotlight: Capturing Life’s Most Memorable Moments

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Vannessa Brown is a professional birth, motherhood and family photographer specializing in the documentation of life’s “unplanned, unposed, and unexpected moments.” From a child opening its eyes for the very first time, to a father holding his wife and new baby beside the birthing pool, to a toddler gently cradling their new sibling on their lap, Vannessa is passionate about capturing the beautiful and fleeting moments of birth and life. 

With an academic background in engineering, Vannessa began to explore photography when she was pregnant with her son, and it was her research on birthing that inspired her interest in birth photography. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Vannessa Brown Photography was officially launched in 2011, and after photographing her first birth in May 2012, Vannessa never looked back. 

As a photographer, each experience brings with it its own unique demands – for periods of up to 5 weeks, she has to be available at a moments notice, and it can take up to 50 hours to properly document a single birthing experience.


Photo Credit: Vannessa Brown Photography 

In the last 8 years, she has documented nearly 100 births in hospitals all across Edmonton, in birthing centres, operating rooms and midwifery clinics, as well as home births in bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms. “It is an honor,” she says, “I am so grateful and thankful to the families who trust me to be a part of these life-changing events.” 

Much of her focus and creative approach has been informed by her own experience as a mother of two. From the moment of the actual birth, to the weeks and months after bringing a new child home, it is easy for special memories and moments to get lost among busy schedules and exhaustion. “You think as a mom, you’ll always remember, but you don’t,” she says, “it breaks my heart that I don’t remember all of the little things.” 

According to Vannessa, it is common for clients to be on the fence regarding birth photography. However, having been on both sides of the camera herself, as both the photographer and the photographed, “It is worth it,” she states simply, “these are details that are unique to each family’s journey. They are priceless.” 

In addition to birth photography, the packages offered by Vannessa Brown Photography include the Family Documentary Session, the Motherhood Session and the Family Mini Session, all specifically designed to capture life as it is. With a focus on real personalities and authentic family dynamics, Vannessa captures the moments you never knew you didn’t want to forget. Sessions can take place in your home or on location at a favorite local restaurant, park, or play area, creating real and lasting memories beyond the classic “Sunday best” family portraits. 

To learn more about birth, motherhood and family photography by Vannessa Brown Photography, visit https://www.vannessabrown.com.  

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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